Western Sydney University
Research Field: Zoology, evolutionary biology, ecology
Dr Kate Umbers is an internationally-recognised evolutionary ecologist interested in behavioural ecology, alpine ecology, physiology and genetics. Given the vulnerability of alpine regions to climate change, and the extreme case of Australia’s low-elevation isolated peaks, Kate’s research fills an urgent need for intense research into the biome’s key vulnerabilities and facilitates a rigorous and meaningful management response.
Kate’s ARC-funded research aims to gain a deep understanding of the life history, vulnerabilities, and genetic refugia of key animal species in the Australian Alps. Her research to date has broken new ground in understanding physiological, behavioural and genetic adaptations in a range of taxa including insects, frogs, plants, and in the future, mammals. Going forward, Kate’s key foci include elucidating expert opinion to predict the plight of our alpine animals using forecasting analyses, communicating the importance of ecosystem services by invertebrate animals to the general public, and describing the genetic refugia for alpine specialists under future climate scenarios.